In the eighteenth century, the principality of Anhalt-Dessau was the stage of a reform movement which encompassed all aspects of life. Among other manifestations, the Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz stood as a model of “practical Enlightenment”, and is since 2000 a World Cultural Heritage site of the UNESCO.
The Dessau-Wörlitz Commission for the study and maintenance of the Dessau-Wörlitz cultural site was founded in 1967 at the Martin-Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg, under the auspices of the rector as well as of the mayor of Dessau-Roßlau, and is located at the IZEA since 2000. Its members are affiliates of the Dessau-Wörlitz cultural foundation, representatives of the public, as well as numerous scholars from very varied disciplines. The commission works towards the scholarly study of all the cultural aspects of Dessau-Wörlitz at the time of the Enlightenment and their inclusion in interdisciplinary research discussions.
The annual conferences, with varying themes, are organised in various venues and are intended for researchers of the Enlightenment and the Garden as well as for the public.